Voyager 1 now 20 BEEEELLION KMs from the Sun

But why has NASA stopped posting weekly status reports? Keep cool, conspiracy-lovers

It's an entirely arbitrary milestone, but Voyager 1 is now more than 20 billion kilometres from our Sun.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory maintains a cosmic odometer recording the progress of both Voyager spacecraft. Voyager 1 progresses at about eight kilometres a second and 700,000 or so clicks a day.

The spacecraft has a date with planet AC +79 3888, which it will reach in about 40,000 years if it doesn't end up in a Star Trek movie first.

Your correspondent likes to check in on the twin probes from time to time and used to enjoy reading the marvellously detailed weekly reports of the ships' disposition. Those reports listed things like weekly consumption of propellant and energy output.

But the most recent such report is now over a year old, which has some of the Internet's further reaches floating theories about just what's going on 20 billion kilometres away.

We asked NASA and the answer is simple: “The status reports have been discontinued due to low interest and to lessen the workload on the flight team.”

But there's still weekly Voyager updates to be had, in the form of the Sequence of Events and Space Flight Operations Schedule. The data available at that site is even more detailed than the old status reports, but rather harder to digest.

Surely not even the most ardent of conspiracists would surely not imagine that NASA fabricates that much data? But then, perhaps they would do if there was something worth hiding? ®

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